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Vietnam Detains Another Blogger for Anti-state Posts

  • Minh Dao

FILE - A blogger who doesn't want to be identified, poses for photos with her blog on her computer screen in her home in Hanoi, Vietnam.

FILE - A blogger who doesn't want to be identified, poses for photos with her blog on her computer screen in her home in Hanoi, Vietnam.

For the second time in less than two weeks, Vietnam has arrested another prominent blogger as part of what critics see as an ongoing crackdown on dissent.

Nguyen Quang Lap, an award-winning journalist/screenwriter, was taken into custody on Monday for allegedly violating controversial article 258 of the Vietnam Penal Code, a vague and broad anti-state law that criminalizes "abusing democratic freedoms."

Hong Le Tho, also known by his pen name Nguoi Lot Gach, or "Brick Layer," was detained late last month on similar anti-state charges.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, a founder of Vietnam's Human Rights Bloggers Network, told VOA the recent arrests only strengthened the will of the free bloggers and journalists to exercise their freedom of expression.

“In this situation, we at the Vietnamese Bloggers Network, think that we must act with more determination," he said. "In the next few days, we will openly publish our campaign so others can participate in protesting article 258 of the Penal Code, because it violates our rights to freedom of speech.”

Quynh, better known by her blogging name Mother Mushroom, was herself briefly detained Sunday for taking a photo with a message supporting Human Rights in an activity in conjunction with the German Embassy, to mark International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10.

In an interview with VOA's Vietnamese Service, Benjamin Ismail, Asia Pacific head for Reporters Without Borders, said he urges Vietnam, as a signatory to international conventions, to respect its commitments to free speech and democracy.

"It has to stop these actions," he said. "Ratifying these treaties will have no meaning and will show even more the daily violations against human rights that the authorities commit if they are not stopping this policy of repression."

According to the advocacy groups for journalists and bloggers, Vietnam has taken at least six bloggers into police custody for the same law since 2013.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.

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